Not that they need it, but the Seattle Seahawks received some added motivation heading into Sunday’s NFC West Division title showdown against St. Louis: For the second straight season no Seattle player made the Pro Bowl roster.
The Hawks were one of two teams in the NFC – and four overall – to not have a player selected for the annual all-star game, which moves back to Hawaii this season after a one-year stay in Florida. The others were Tampa Bay, Cincinnati and Buffalo.
And Seattle is the only team in the NFC West not to have a player selected, adding fuel to Seattle’s pursuit of the division crown, which would happen with a win over St. Louis at Qwest Field on Sunday.
Pro Bowl players are picked by a combined vote of fans, coaches and players.
Seattle was represented at the Pro Bowl for eight straight seasons from 2001 to 2008. Recently retired offensive tackle Walter Jones was the last Seahawks player to make it two seasons ago.
The Seahawks had some potential candidates this year. Leon Washington was a possibility as return specialist, but that spot went to Chicago’s Devin Hester.
Washington was one of Seattle’s key offseason acquisitions, picked up in a draft-day trade with the New York Jets.
Coming off a gruesome leg injury that ended his 2009 season after seven weeks, Washington returned to being an explosive playmaker for Seattle, averaging 26 yards a kick return and returning an NFC-high three kickoffs for touchdowns – including a franchise-record two in one game against San Diego.
Washington also is averaging 14 yards a punt return with a long of 84 yards that would have been a touchdown had he not stopped to showboat before getting in the end zone.
Washington made $1.759 million in base salary under the restricted-free-agent tender from the Jets before they traded him. He’s a free agent after this season and might look to go elsewhere because Seattle has not used him much on offense.
Seattle rookie safety Earl Thomas is among the league leaders in interceptions with five, and is tied for second on team with 74 tackles. And defensive end Chris Clemons has a career-high 10.5 sacks, fourth-best for defensive ends in the NFC. The three others ahead of Clemons – Atlanta’s John Abraham (13 sacks), Carolina’s Charles Johnson (11.5) and the New York Giants’ Justin Tuck (11) – all made the Pro Bowl.
INTRODUCING NO. 275
Seattle made its 275th roster transaction since coach Pete Carroll took over in January, adding defensive end Maurice Fountain to the practice squad Tuesday. The Clemson product most recently played for the Hartford Colonials of the United Football League, and went to training camp with the Miami Dolphins in 2008.